-Exciting news! My play Kentucky will get a second production at East West Players in Los Angeles this fall! Read the announcement on Playbill,on  American Theatre Magazine !

-My short play YOU’RE AMAZING will be at Williamstown Theatre Festival on 8/9! Directed by Seonjae Kim! 

-East West Players’ production of my play KENTUCKY (West Coast Premiere) is casting through July 27th. You can submit here. 

-I was accepted into the 2016-2018 WP (Women’s Project) Lab Read about it in American Theatre Magazine 

-I’m teaching a class on short form playwrighting  in the fall at Primary Stages ESPA! Sign up here

-My play Two Mile Hollow received an Honorable Mention on The Kilroys List!

-Had a great time teaching at the New York State Summer Young Writers Institute

-This Saturday June 25-come to a reading of my play Two Mile Hollow directed by Hand To God’s Moritz von Stuelpnagel! 3pm at ART/NY. FREE. Details here 




“The playwright Leah Nanako Winkler has created a sort of millennial Odyssey, chronicling the rustic homecoming of a New York City transplant. Long in flight from a troubled upbringing, Hiro (Satomi Blair) returns to her native Kentucky in the hope of preventing the marriage of her younger sister Sophie. But Sophie (Sasha Diamond) has found her own kind of escape, in born-again Christianity, and confounds the alienated Hiro with her church-centered contentment, which the play treats with sensitivity. Hiro’s sense of autonomy is further challenged by her abusive father, her immigrant mother, and the childhood friends she left behind. Morgan Gould’s lively production, which includes a Greek-style chorus and a talking cat, has an antic, unruly spirit. Still, Winkler’s story is ultimately a serious one, about the commonplace nature of childhood trauma and the radically different paths people take to recover.”- The New Yorker 

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“Refreshing and witty. A fresh, affecting play.”—Time Out New York


Exceptional. There is an excitement and charm to Nanako Winkler’s language. The accessibility draws an immediate bond with the audience…’Kentucky’ was sublimely constructed and adoringly envisioned and has not only put Leah Nanako Winkler on the map but ensured her as an important player in contemporary theater.” Theatre in the Now


Flat-Out hillarity… the play, which on one hand is a comedic romp, also offers food for thought on a variety of important topics. “How will this fadge?” as one of Shakespeare’s heroines once questioned. So see the play. I highly recommend it.”- Epoch Times

The play follows Hiro, who has to stop her little sister from marrying a man she hardly knows, but that means returning to Kentucky and the home she’s put behind her. Hiro’s quest involves confronting forgotten friends, former flames, and the family she fled.

Ensemble Studio Theatre is located at 549 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

In other news:

My new play Thirty-Six Will have a reading on May 25th at 4pm at Primary Stages. The Fresh Ink reading series is the first opportunity to hear seven brand new plays from the playwrights in the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group. All readings are free and open to the public. To rsvp please email or call Sean Patrick O’Brien at 212-840-9705. See flyer below:


My play Two Mile Hollow received a workshop by Artist’s at Play! I had a blast!

There is an evening of my short plays happening at Allentown Public Theatre Allentown, Pennsylvania!  on May 17th! More information on their facebook page! 

Feb 2016- I received a Sloan Commission to write a short play about Science at Ensemble Studio Theatre.

  • I taught a playwrighting workshop at the Milbrook School and had a lot of fun!

FALL 2015

I received a space grant and a commission from 2G-New York’s premiere Asian American Theatre Company! I was also nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize  and received the Truman Capote Fellowship in Playwrighting!

I had a lot of fun being a guest Artist with the immersive peice HouseWorld by Andrew Hoepfner too!


July 13-19 I’ll be in residence at SPACE on Ryder Farm with EST/Youngblood.

July 20-26 I’ve been invited to participate in Page 73’s summer residency at Yale University to work on my play KENTUCKY with director Morgan Gould.

August, 2015- My play Death For Sydney Black was a part of Cohesion Theater Company’s Parity Fest in Baltimore.


My play KENTUCKY is in the top ten on the 2015 Kilroy’s List!  You can learn more about the Kilroys and this year’s List as well as all of the nominations  on Indie Wire, Fortune, American Theatre Magazine, Backstage and New York Times. My play Death For Sydney Black which was a nominee in 2014 also received an honorable mention!   Hooray! #thekilroys #parityraid

Running  through June 27th: My play DOUBLE SUICIDE AT UENO PARK!!! is a part of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s 35th Marathon of One-Act Plays.  Tickets available here.FB_IMG_1434823124121

Double Suicide at Ueno Park!  by Leah Nanako Winkler; directed by John Giampietro*

Two courtesans in 18th century Japan are set free from the red-light district once a year to see the cherry blossoms at Ueno Park. As the seasons pass, the best friends make a dangerous pact.

Press quotes below! 


This satirical comedy had the audience roaring with laugher that became nervous as it revealed the shocking (and infuriating) truths about Japanese Concubines. A sharp and entertaining cultural lesson that delivered a perspective that we need to hear.” -Times Square Chronicles


“Ms. Winkler’s writing is so simple but exquisite in its execution.  In twenty minutes the sad lives of the girls are deftly dramatized with a compelling range of emotion. Visually Stunning…a vivid masterpiece”


Wonderfully, violently, crudely and delightfully subversive. The play snipes at old, but abiding notions of femininity, the fetishization of geishas, ritual suicide and other destructive tropes that linger around the Western idea of Japan, with deadly precision.” –Stage Buddy


“Double Suicide At Ueno Park by Leah Nanako Winkler, directed by John Giampietro intriguingly roasts the Japanese feudal aesthetic of renunciation of the world…tragedy is not often this funny.  Ditto for clever subversion…. and this all leads to the inevitable brilliance of this piece. “-Ny Theater Now


“Certainly the most imaginative entry in the series is Double Suicide at Ueno Park…Leah Nanako Winkler, takes a crowbar to the traditional image of the Japanese geisha. (Anyone who thinks Arthur Golden’s popular novelMemoirs of a Geisha is the last word on the subject is in for a stabbing shock.) Winkler has a gift for savage satire that makes me eager to see what she does next, and, in John Giampietro, she has a director who is totally on her wavelength.”- Lighting And Sound America


This offbeat story of two Japanese courtesans takes  a few chances that pay off” -New York Times


Photo Credit:  Gerry Goodstein

MAY 2015

 I’ll be at the  The Drama Bookshop in New York for the OOB 39th Edition book launch. There will be readings of the plays included in the series and a signing afterward.

APRIL 2015

My play Taisetsu Na Hito is now available for purchase at Samuel French!

0046963_taisetsu_na_hito_300An excerpt of the play was  featured on Episode #1616 WNYC’s Studio 360 Podcast called “EX MACHINA,” SEXY ROBOTS, & FOUR-LEGGED STARS. It aired on Thursday, April 16, 2015 and was  hosted by PeaBody award winning Kurt Anderson. There I can also be heard briefly talking to Eric Molinsky about Robots and sexuality. Check it out at the link below.

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My short play Tomorrow was a part of EST/Youngblood’s April brunch series. The theme was optimism and it starred Cathy Curtin (Orange is the New Black), Shawn Randall (Symphonics Live!) and Sasha Diamond (The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra GO). It was directed by John Giampietro.


MARCH 2015

My new book of short plays, The Lowest Form Of Writing is finally out!


You can purchase it on Amazon for $10 at or come see me at any of my gigs or plays. Speaking of plays!!!!

TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR MY NEW PLAY KENTUCKY, DIRECTED BY MORGAN GOULD  AT EST/YOUNGBLOOD RUNNING MARCH 18-28. For tickets call 866-811-4111 or click here!  I’m super excited about this play and I hope you can join me!!! 

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by Leah Nanako Winikler
Directed by Morgan Gould
Starring: Satomi Blair, Sasha Diamond, Ronald Peet, Lucy DeVito, Amir Wachterman, Allyson Morgan, Christine Lee, Alex Grubbs, Curran Connor, Merissa Czyz, Jay Patterson, Samantha Sembler, Lynette Freeman, Virginia Wing, Marcia Haufrecht and Emily Kunkel.

Hiro is a self-made woman making it in New York. But she is also single, almost thirty and estranged from her dysfunctional family who lives in Kentucky. When her little sister, a born-again Christian, decides to marry at twenty-two, Hiro takes it up on herself to do whatever she can to stop the wedding and salvage any shred of hope she had about her sister’s future. The themes of identity, religion and love collide in this unique coming-of-age story.


March 18 at 7pm
March 19 at 7pm
March 21 at 2pm
March 26 at 7pm
March 28 at 7pm

FALL/Winter 2014-

-Will be part of New Georges 1 Minute Play Festival

-Awarded space grant with 2G (Second Generation)

-12/17 Remounting my short play “Alone On Christmas-W4Mw-28 ( Brooklyn)” w/ Darcy Fowler, Jared McGuire and special guests. Directed by Matt Dickson. Tickets here

-My full length KENTUCKY  will be a part of EST/YOUNGBLOOD’s Unfiltered festival in Spring 2015. Details forthcoming. 

-Date set for China publication! My short plays I Don’t Want to Read Your Blog, LOVE, BELIEBER and Arch-Nemisis will be published in the December Edition of Nanjing University’s Stage and Screen Reviews 

-My short play YOU’RE AMAZING Was part of EST/Youngblood’s Legal Brunching Age

-I was a part of F*It Club’s F*ing Up Halloween where I “acted” in a play. It was scary!

-Jennifer Gordon Thomas performed my monologue LIONS as part of CAPS LOCK THEATRE’s PUSSY FEST at Judson Church.

-My short play WRINKLE was part of Asking For Trouble 2014 at Ensemble Studio Theatre. It was directed by Danya Taymor and starred Curren Conner, Artem Kreimer, Jesse Geguzis and Hand To God’s Steven Boyer.


 August 2014- 

-My short play Taisetsu Na Hito won the  Sam French OOB Festival!  It will be published in an anthology in 2015. Read about it on Backstage!

-The cast of Taisetsu Na Hito and I were interviewed for a new podcast on WNYC radio! The episode will be released in the fall of 2014!


July 2014- 

-I went to SPACE on Ryder Farm with EST/Youngblood

June 2014-

– My plays Diversity Awareness Picnic and Death For Sydney Black were nominated for The Kilroys List. Read about The List in the NYTimes. 


-Cover Art for my upcoming book of short plays by Lilli Stein!


May 2014

-My short plays, “I Don’t Want To Read Your Blog” and “Arch-Nemisis” were performed at Nanjing University in China! They will both be published and translated into Chinese the fall of 2014.

Here are some production photos they sent me!

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-I was chosen as a finalist for theThe Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Fellowship at The Juilliard School for the 2nd time.